Medical informaticians today are working on the same problems that they were working on in the early 1960s. I recently did a PubMed search on "computers AND medical records" and pulled the citations from the earliest dates captured by PubMed.
Here are some of the titles.
AUTOMATING YOUR OWN MEDICAL DATA PROCESSING CAN BE COSTLY.
AKRON SPEEDS INFORMATION SYSTEM SLOWLY.
COMPUTER ALLOWS A ROUTINE ECG FOR EVERY ADMISSION.
1965 Mar 15
APPLICATION OF COMPUTERS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE.
MECHANIZING A LARGE REGISTER OF FIRST ORDER PATIENT DATA.
COMPUTER PROCESSING OF NEURORADIOLOGICAL REPORTS. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE APPLICATION OF THE VARIABLE-FIELD-LENGTH FORMAT AND MEDTRAN.
[Storage and retrieval of medical records in 1964]
1964 Dec 21
COMPUTER HANDLING OF AMBULATORY CLINIC RECORDS.
STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL OF CLINICAL AND LABORATORY DATA.
1964 Oct 16
AUTOMATION IN MEDICAL RECORDS: A LOOK AHEAD.
COMPUTER GENERATED HOSPITAL DIAGNOSIS FILE.
1964 Jul 4
THE ROLE OF THE COMPUTER IN REFINING DIAGNOSIS.
1964 Jun 15
MANIPULATION OF AUTOPSY DIAGNOSES BY COMPUTER TECHNIQUE.
REQUIREMENTS AND APPLICATIONS OF AUTOMATION IN HOSPITAL FUNCTIONS.
1964 Apr 9
[ELECTRONIC DATA PROCESSING IN CLINICAL ANESTHETIC PRACTICE.]
DESIGN OF A COMPUTER SUPPORTED CLINICAL STUDY.
OBSTETRICAL DATA PROCESSING: THE COMPUTER AS AN OBSTETRIC DATA RETRIEVAL DEVICE.
A COMPUTER SYSTEM FOR CLASSIFYING CARDIOPULMONARY DISABILITY.
A CENTRAL ELECTRONIC COMPUTER SPEEDS PATIENT INFORMATION.
Patient data: a computer-based system.
In the 60s, our predecessors worked on the same problems that persist today: the electronic medical record; standardization of electronic information; using electronic information to catch errors in diagnosis, billing; analysis issues for electronic data.
It seems hard to believe. How could early informaticians have been so advanced with the primitive computers available in the 1960s? If we are still working on the same problems today that we were working on in 1960s, have we wasted the enormous research funding that was devoted to medical informatics projects through the past five decades? At the very least, these observations signify that present-day medical informaticians are less advanced than we may like to think.
- Jules Berman
key words: progress in medical informatics, hospital computerization, medical advancement, medical progress, hospital information systems, emr, ehr, electronic health record, electronic medical record, medical errors, medical data, hospital data, medical informaticists